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Can a Canadian bilingual make it in Eastern Europe ?

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spaceman spiff

Joined: 28 Dec 2012
Posts: 27

PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 12:55 pm    Post subject: Can a Canadian bilingual make it in Eastern Europe ? Reply with quote

Hello all !

I posted this in the newbie forum (along with Germany and General Latin America), but here goes again :

My name is Ian - I am a first time poster, long time reader/stalker of these boards who has finally had it up to here with Canada (or Toronto at least) and as a newbie, I have a few questions that could use answering by some of you fine folk who know a thing or two about expatriating and teaching languages. I realize that this type of post comes up often enough, but my situation/skills are different enough that I feel like it's worth taking the time to listen to me!

First things first:
- I'm a Canadian citizen
- I have a degree in Linguistics at the University of Toronto
- I know how to sell myself reasonably well
- I DO NOT have a TEFL certification
- I spent last year teaching english in Toulouse, and tutoring English and French while I was a student at UofT
- The KEY point here is that I am a native speaker of both English and French (my background is Basque), I speak with a French accent and I can write well so teaching both languages is totally an option for me. As a result I have valuable experience both in North America and Europe, and it's this skill that will hopefully put me ahead of the monolingual Anglophones.
- I am in roughly 20,000$CDN debt from my school loans and at my current rate of pay I'd like to put about ~250 CDN (or whatever equivalent in different currency) towards my loans PER MONTH.
- Ideally the country of choice will be in this list :

Canada have a youth mobility accord with the following countries which greatly facilitates the visa process - unlike some who need to find a job within 90 days of entering the Schengen zone - I will be granted a long stay visa which permits me to stay in the host country with no bullshit for up to 1 year.

My native bilingualism makes my situation different from most I would think, and ideally I'd like to relocate somewhere where knowledge of both languages can be a serious point in my favour.

With that being said, I know that Europe is largely closed off to me for not having the right passport [I do not have a French passport - my family is rather estranged and I'm not really considering going through the hassle of getting their and my paperwork done for this passport]. Additionally, I have to be honest and say that Asia holds little appeal for me - even though I know that that's where the $$$ is.

So... ESLCafe-ers... is it a total pipe dream to head to Eastern Europe and hope for the best? Canada has youth mobility agreements with the Czech Rep, Slovakia and Slovenia, but Romania is the one that is most interesting to me given the link between Romanian-French, and their need for English. I'm asking myself if anybody would appreciate hiring 1 guy to teach both English+French, and in the bigger city centres (like Bucharest) I could possibly make ends meet with other small jobs (I do film editing, sound recording, and graphic design so hopefully I could find enough gigs like I can do here in Canada if I hustle enough).

I'm expecting disillusioning advice from you lot - even though I'll have "enough" in start up costs (~3500$ CDN), and I have no problems with living super frugally. I don't mind cooking for myself, I don't particularly drink much, and I'm not at all interested in clubs or even much travel. Ideally I'd explore mostly the region that I'm in. I would also like to add that my goals seem reasonable (with reasonable being a very subjective term I realize) - I know I won't be saving anything, but if I can break even/not spend too much after 6 months/1 year of living in Eastern Europe - teaching both languages, finding artsy side projects to supplement my income (as well as making contacts in the process) and put ~250CDN/month to my loans, I'll be happy. This seems more possible in a place like Germany though - am I right in assuming this?

I would really appreciate any information you could impart with...

Cheers !

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Joined: 20 Feb 2008
Posts: 627

PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2013 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You could put roughly 750 PLN away each month working in Warsaw. You could teach English or French here as well, although you could probaby earn just as much teaching only English as both languages--knowing both will not be a significant advantage for you here. Check the Polish forums if you want to learn more.
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